Last week we posted on rumors of behind-the-scenes changes in Nationwide’s agency roster — and while the client’s Super Bowl teasers indicate that McKinney will remain its creative agency of record, its relationship with Atlanta-based Moxie has shifted.
For context, Publicis Groupe acquired Columbus, Ohio agency Engauge in August of 2013 with the intention of merging it with Moxie’s existing operations under the ZenithOptimediaGroup banner (at the time, the Engauge client roster included Nationwide as well as Chick-Fil-A and others). Last March, the union of the two agencies became official with the Moxie relaunch.
Word of a pending restructuring began to circulate shortly thereafter. We did not receive a formal statement from the agency about layoffs that occurred last Fall, but we can confirm that former Engauge CEO/Moxie Chairman Nick Bandy was among those dismissed in a move that allegedly cut as many as 47 jobs.
Multiple sources later claimed that the Columbus office would be closing as a result of changes in the Nationwide account (along with other strategic factors); members of the Moxie/Engauge team primarily worked on projects related to Nationwide’s ongoing sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Junior. Nationwide’s statement last week held that the company “continue[s] to have a relationship with Moxie” and that the agency would be working on “other projects” moving forward, but the current status of that relationship remains unclear.
What is clear is that major changes occurred at the agency’s Columbus location, which will soon close in keeping with claims made by multiple sources. At least one leading member of Moxie’s Ohio creative team has left: ECD Tony Sharpe, who worked on Nationwide and other accounts, was no longer with the agency as of last month.
Here is an unusual #StateOfTheAgency update:
— Moxie (@MoxieUSA) January 22, 2015
UPDATE: Here, after three weeks of inquiry and several related posts, is a statement from Moxie CEO Suzy Deering:
“While Moxie will continue to work with Nationwide, it will no longer be on a retainer basis. Given this shift, we’ve begun the process of closing our Columbus office. Accounts currently serviced out of that location will be handled by our Pittsburgh and Atlanta offices. We are very proud of the work our Columbus team has produced over the years. They are a group of truly talented, dedicated professionals, and we thank them for all they have done.”